Barbadians Waiting for NIS Severance Forever and a Day

The Pratt and Morgan case established legal precedent with a time guideline a convicted person can be kept on ‘death row’. The 1993 judgement handed down by the Privy Council determined that if the state for any reason was unable to carry out the death sentence within a five year period, it was deemed cruel and inhumane punishment to the prisoner sitting on death row. The logic being that the death sentence should be carried out ‘speedily’ and any protracted period post death sentence represented death sentence plus mental torment.

Mental torment is defined as “a state of great bodily or mental suffering; agony; misery. something that causes great bodily or mental pain or suffering. a source of much trouble, worry, or annoyance”.

In a May 31, 2022 Nation newspaper report it was reported former workers of Grand Barbados Hotel have been waiting for severance payment to be settled. In cases where an employer does not pay severance, the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) makes the payment and seeks to recover the payment from the delinquent employer if possible. It therefore begs the question why former Grand Barbados employees should have to wait almost ten years to receive payments guaranteed under law. It is interesting to note Toni Moore was the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) representative at that time. Moore is the current General Secretary of the BWU and Member of Parliament for St. George North. 

The blogmaster is of the view a similar mental torment affects employees who are made to wait protracted periods for severance payment. Although the employer should pay at first instance, the law affords protection in cases where this is not possible. Whatever due process/diligence has to be done CANNOT take ten years to complete. We have to start treating persons humanely. The blogmaster recalls the haste Minister Sinckler changed the disbursement criteria of the Industrial Credit Fund to pay Mark Maloney fees for constructing the overpriced Grotto housing units. There are several other examples to demonstrate who the cow likes he licks, who he does not he kicks. 

What does it matter for the government to boast about all manner of things and we continue to fail to build a just society.


NIS Management Team

Ms. Kim Tudor – Director

Mrs. Frances Fontinelle-Walcott – Deputy Director

Mr. Trevor Gibbs – Chief Legal Officer

Mrs. Janice Estwick – Financial Controller

Mr. Luther Jones –  Manager, Investments

Mr. Quincy Yarde – Chief Information Technology Officer

Mrs. Lee-Ann Mayers-Franklyn – Chief Internal Auditor

Mrs. Norma King-Brathwaite – Assistant Director, Benefits

Mr. Derek Lowe – Assistant Director, Customer Relations

Ms. Sophia Mings-Mascoll – Finance Officer, Compliance, Severance and Registration

Mrs. Carole Layne-Browne – Finance Officer, Collections

Mr. David Archer – Assistant Director, Human Resources and Administration

Ms. Katrina Bend- Marketing and Research Officer

57 comments

  • The NIS is near broke. Get use to it. Plan for a life without it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Pacha

    Isn’t this another admin issue?

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David Bu
    Does allocating the issue solve the problem? What is the source of the problem?

    Like

  • @Vincent

    Tell us if you know. The newly installed Director Kim Tudor when asked about it by the media said she needed time to ascertain the facts about the Grand Barbados issue. A matter that has been in abeyance for 10 rh years. One that had Toni Moore as the employees representative and who now is a member of government. Further, the Board of the NIS has a member of the union onboard.

    Piss plentiful in the blogmaster’s pocket do.

    Like

  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

    “The NIS is near broke. Get use to it. Plan for a life without it.”

    they certainly weren’t totally broke 10 years ago…and REFUSED to pay people their benefits..even back then…

    Plantations refused to pay workers their pensions…although they aare armed with a court judgement for interim payments….

    .these SLIME pocket the money or give to their corrupt friends and don’t pay the people who pay into the fund….

    the boards are all made up of inbred family members, just like the parliament…

    but they want people to fund this corruption without benefit to themselves and families…

    At this point the PEOPLE should be planning to ABANDON the whole corrupt system that, though they fund it, is not BENEFITTING THEM…it’s already DISCREDITED…..now ABANDON IT…no one has to tolerate any of it..

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David Bu at 10: 10 AM

    The new Director needs to get the facts before she can respond intelligently to the queries raised. I am sure there are complexities that need to be sorted out.Who should the NIS collect reimbursements from if the defaulting employers no longer exist.?

    Like

  • @Vincent

    Collecting the facts should take how long you think?

    If defaulting employers cannot pay NIS there are always the taxpayers.

    Like

  • @ David

    RE: “Collecting the facts should take how long you think?”

    The Grand Barbados affair is not the only issue for which the new NIS Director needs updating.

    RE: “If defaulting employers cannot pay NIS there are always the taxpayers.”

    Are you aware employers contribute to the severance fund?

    Do you believe Grand Barbados is the only issue for which the new NIS Director has to

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Artax

    Grand Barbados was used as the example because it recently resurfaced in the news.

    Here is a question for you Artax- does Kim Tudor follow the news you think?

    Like

  • @ David

    I suppose she does.

    But, I believe you’re being a bit unreasonable.

    Let ME ask you a question

    Supposed you were the newly appointed Director of the NIS, would you use the media as your source of information to investigate the issue……. or, would you wait until after meeting with heads of departments for updates on their departments and the status of the fund, reviewing any available financial reports etc…….

    …….. to avail yourself of the Grand Barbados issue?

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Artax

    The public which includes the blogmaster and severed workers have license to be unreasonable.

    Here is another question for you – Kim Tudor as head of the defunct NISE should be aware of the challenges at NIS?

    How long should it take for Director Tudor to summons the manager of NIS responsible for the matter to be apprised of the matter? Is 24 hours reasonable? Was there an option to instruct Derek Lowe who has been in the job for years to issue a statement?

    The point is that we tired of the BS.

    Like

  • @ David

    Perhaps she could’ve instructed the Deputy Director to address the issue.

    But, there is a significant difference between being ‘aware’ of something, ‘superficially’ and ‘intimately.’

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Artax

    They are people on her team who are intimately aware of the Grand Barbados and other matters. If Tudor wants to issue in a new way of doing things, here is an opportunity. Especially her background coming from NISE. We are fed up with more of the same or in the vernacular, warmed over soup.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David BU
    I am not sure why you expect the new appointee to the post to have answers to infelicities that occurred decades before she took up the post. But I think you are unreasonable.I am sure her priorities are not yours. She has to do an audit and write up her own agenda.
    These are matters that are handled below her pay grade. I And should be reported to the appropriate authorities NOT the Press. This is not how institutions are managed.

    Like

  • @Vincent

    Her priority should be and must be to satisfying the severed workers.

    Like

  • Please give Kim a chance! Check her back in a bit! Then you may cuss her, if need be. I do hope she doesn’t disappoint me.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David Bu
    I hope you are nobody’s boss. You will soon be without an institution and employees. Is this a residual trait from the days of slavery?. It certainly is not modern management. You may feel entitled BUT you are not. So wake up This is 2022.
    Of course neither your interventions nor my rant address the backlog of payments of severance. Just to remind you that some problems are more complicated than you think.

    Like

  • @Vincent

    You will be surprised.

    For too long we have allowed those given thr awesome responsibility of managing the NIS to chafe us. The blogmaster’s patience has run out when it comes to the NIS. Too much is at stake as it upsets the ordinary man.

    Like

  • An while de maguffees pontificating the young entrepreneurs entrepreneuring

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ David BU, can you start a blog about the good things happening in Barbados ?

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Hants

    Nothing good happens in Barbados.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Competent public sector a must
    IT IS ALMOST impossible to describe the importance of the public sector to the quality of our life in Barbados. These services cover such vital areas as law and order, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, public transport, our road infrastructure, our international airport, and numerous others.
    The full list of entities managed by the Government of Barbados runs to well over 100 discrete entities. The magnitude of these services requires the Public Service to employ around 30 000 people, or one in four of everyone who is working.
    It is very difficult to judge objectively how well the public sector performs as very little information is available publicly. If we use public opinion, it would probably be graded as below satisfactory. Unfortunately, much of the evaluation is made on anecdotal evidence and in many cases targeted at the front-line employees of the public sector.
    This is very unfair as the primary issue lies in the structure and organisation of the public sector which is the responsibility of senior management.
    We will not improve our public sector until we improve its management systems and give employees the right tools to do the job.
    The challenge of changing human behaviour on a large scale requires strong leadership, plenty resources, and lots of time. Unfortunately, our political system runs on a short-term time horizon – with a keen focus on the next five years.
    This seems to hinder even the strongest leaders from taking firm action to correct this huge deficiency.
    Our society needs guidance and management, and the role of the Government is to provide this for the benefit of the public. A competent professional public sector would be a joy to work in and would have a huge impact on our quality of life.

    – CHRIS DE CAIRES


    Source: Nation

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ David.

    The NIS is in a serious predicament and the clock is ticking. They are entering into the perfect storm now.

    The restructuring has devasted their cash flow. When you watch 2 billion dollars drop from earning 7% to 1% you in real pain! Then you add the non performing overpriced real estate to the contraction in employment due to covid and you bleeding money every day.

    So the question is how much is the NIS bleeding a month as of today? What is the shortfall in cashflow and how will it be financed and by whom?

    Next we have to ask what are the current receivables on the NIS books as of today? Then we must ask what is the bad debt unretrievable value of these receivables? In other words how much we claim we owed will we end up righting off?

    I would bet you if an audit is ever done in my lifetime it will show the NIS is insolvent in real terms. In other words it’s income from investment and its monthly income from workers deductions do not balance in any single month. It therefore operates at a deficit.

    Now after that simple breakdown the question is what will the boss lady do? We heard her say recently that the fund is in urgent need of restructuring. The question therefore is how and who will foot the bill ? Will we retire at 70 and will monthly deductions from workers move to 35% of insured earnings?

    How em going wuk pray tell?

    Liked by 1 person

  • @John A

    It may explain why an up to date audited statement has been stuck in the pipeline, to avoid a management letter being issued that would lead to negative consequences?

    Like

  • @ David

    You could only postpone fixing a house roof for so long before it collapses on all under it.

    If the fund wasn’t viable before covid it would be bleeding money after the virus. Just factor in the tourism workers alone and that would give you an idea of the blow the NIS cashflow would have taken over the last 24 months.

    Liked by 1 person

  • What can the proletariat do if the executive class continues to screw us?

    Like

  • @Hants yours@8.15 pm June 8

    Check out My Community- Sherwood McCaskie

    Like

  • The blogmaster recalls the haste Minister Sinckler changed the disbursement criteria of the Industrial Credit Fund to pay Mark Maloney fees for constructing the overpriced Grotto housing units. There are several other examples to demonstrate who the cow likes he licks, who he does not he kicks.

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    WOULD YOU NOT HAVE DONE THE SAME HASTE IF YOUR WHITE CO-CONSPIRATOR WAS WAITING TO GIVE YOU BIG MONEY IN KICKBACKS FROM THE SAME AWARDED PROJECT OF THE SIPHONED MONEY FROM THE FUND.

    SINCKLER IS NOT AS STUPID AS HE LOOKS.

    Like

  • How long should it take for Director Tudor to summons the manager of NIS responsible for the matter to be apprised of the matter?

    10 years. Like the courts.

    #ThisIsWhoWeAre

    Like

  • David

    Your hard class divisions are best located elsewhere.

    In capitalism what you call the executive class are the ones normally relied upon to drive the economy. In fact real capitalists control all facets of culture.

    Barbados has never had such an ‘enlightened’ group of people assuming such total responsibilities.

    That so-called executive class has been blighted with a recessive bureaucratic mindset.

    And your business leaders have always been merchants. This class too has always been social degenerates. What a writer once called ‘the rent seekers from within.’

    Like

  • @Pacha

    Sadly you maybe correct.

    Like

  • @ Baje

    Listen Sinkyuh is a remarkable man based on what Mia say bout him.

    The man move from being the worst MOF Barbados ever had according to the BLP (this was pre first election win 30 to 0) to become in 8 years a man worthy of recommendation by the said same BLP leader for a big job over and away.

    The man proved he is brilliant to move from where he was accused of bankrupting the NIS by said same BLP, to stardom assisted by yep you got it, the said same BLP leader. You can imagine the amount of book learning and tests he would of do in them few years to get from worst MOF to working for a big tail financial institution over and away? The man prove to be a star of economic academia hands down!

    Then again Maloneny move pre election from a scamp to the golden procurer of invisible vaccines so anything is possible it seems. LOL

    Six of one half dozen of de other

    Liked by 1 person

  • The man move from being the worst MOF Barbados ever had according to the BLP (this was pre first election win 30 to 0) to become in 8 years a man worthy of recommendation by the said same BLP leader for a big job over and away.

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    JUST LIKE MARK MALONEY.

    SEEMS MOST BLACK PEOPLE ON THE 2 X 3 ISLAND LIKE BEING DECEIVED AND LIED TO.

    YOU DID THE RIGHT THING NOT TO VOTE FOR EITHER THE DLP OR BLP.

    NEXT TIME HOPEFULLY YOU CAN FIND AN ALTERNATIVE PARTY.

    Like

  • David
    Maybe this historical rendering is prescient. A podcast, transcription.
    http://americanhistorypodcast.net/restoration-8-barbados-betrayed/

    Liked by 2 people

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Pachamama at 11;21 Am
    Thanks. A good upload. I read a similar post. It is very instructive for those who belong to the “punching above weight” lobby.
    We should try to maintain this virtue,.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ John A at 8 ; 30 PM yesterday.
    I am very much in agreement with the need to do the necessary reform to maintain the integrity of the Fund. Like you, I believe the risks to its sustainability are all internal. Policy decisions were made on the fly without assessing their impact on the integrity of the Fund in the short term and the long term.
    I believe we have the courage and the will to do so urgently. That is the priority. ;NOT the need to respond to the press.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    We concur!

    David

    From yesterday.

    This, the NIS issue, is not merely administrative. This is a chronic situation which has developed over decades and is getting worse by the day.

    Yes, it is partly administrative but there are demographic and other factors which ‘contribute’ to the failing scheme and which are totally outside the preview of the best of NIS management or administration. The neoliberal encouragement to raid these funds for risky ventures is another externality not amenable to the culture of good civil servant management the scheme has long had starting with the late Humphrey Walcott.

    To us, this is more a political failure than administrative one.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Pacha

    The admin reference was made regarding the routine meeting of the tribunal to rule/determine matters and for accounts clerks to process claims. The bigger issue you outlined is a challenge but shouldn’t be conflated with what was highlighted above.

    Like

  • @ Vincent

    Yes I hope the government have the testicular strength to tackle the NIS restructuring without playing the political game at the same time.

    I say that as the right off of a sizeable amount of the non collectable receivables will prove a political nightmare to the BLP. If however they use standard accounting rules the right off of receivables should be dictated not by politics, but by the aging formula globally accepted for outstanding liabilities. So let’s say receivables 8 years old would be written off. Receivables say 5 years old maybe 70% will be written off etc. This should be done until such time as we reach a figure that is genuinely collectable.

    Then we need to revalue the real estate holdings based on current market value etc. Following that rents need to net a decent percentage of return on these adjusted fuxed assets. When all this is done THEN AND ONLY THEN should we talk about the value of the fund. There is too much long talk and guessing at the value of the fund.

    Then we move to the sinkyuh paper and all that needs to be revalued as well based on yield and market value. Once that is done then we know the true saleable value of this paper. In other words stop talking dodo about 2 billion in paper! What would that paper fetch if floated for sale based on its “restructured ” yield? As it now stands the only client for this paper is the same goverment that printed it. When the paper comes to maturity what will happen then? Will you roll over the bond and issue more paper? Bond value should not be arrived at based on published price. It must be valued ar real value, based on a valuation formula for such bonds that focuses on yield, age, seller etc.

    What I am saying is stop fooling the dam people you got billions in a healthy NIS Fund and tell them the truth. Only then can you come to us and talk about the restructuring of the fund. So no more yardfowl talk and ting please! Wunna bring number and facts, along with up to date audited financial statements too.

    Like

  • A fascinating recount of some of the history of the period. Barbados was indeed a jewel in the British crown.

    Like

  • The issue is not really about the NIS- as insolvent as it is. It is about having a sustainable model of pension provision for a state with shallow capital pools and lax regulation.

    The current PAYG system should be really be viewed as a basic 1st pillar

    More focus should therefore be placed on a 2nd tier that is workplace based and mandatory, with minimum contribution rates set for both EE and ER.

    But if we can’t even manage a govt controlled PAYG scheme and have basic financial reporting requirements and asset liability management what hope is there to take the next step?

    Like

  • John A June 9, 2022 4:25 PM

    You’ve been consistent in your analysis of the NIS, which has been correct.

    But, wasn’t ‘government’ harshly criticised for using a similar process to write-off the outstanding taxes to uncollectible accounts receivable, because the debt was unlikely to be paid and ‘government’ seemed unwilling to take action to the necessary action to collect the outstanding amounts, perhaps for various reasons?

    I’m sure you are aware those indebted to the then Inland Revenue Department, would’ve also included persons who filed their ‘individual income tax returns,’ but not pay taxes due.
    Additionally, some people do not file income tax returns, UNLESS they’re entitled to a refund.
    You also have to take into consideration those persons who have died.

    I believe we should be a bit more concerned with business owners collecting VAT, filing returns, but not remitting taxes due…… or, withholding payments, hoping for a ‘trade off’ because they may be owed taxes.

    These are issues worthy of further discussion.

    Like

  • @ Artax

    Yes I agree with you that the Vat issue is also a major challenge.

    My major concern really with the NIS is that until we know where “ground zero” is for the fund, we will never know how much we will need to make it solvent. So I see it as having to know where we are based on an independent audit, then after that look at the asset base and decide what should either be written down or off the books. After that the asset valuations need to be adjusted, followed only then by a restructuring. Plus we have to accept that the worker and employer can not be expected to carry the cost of this restructuring either. They combined already pay in excess of 25% of insurable earnings into this fund. To ask them now to carry the burden of restructuring the fund which politicians have decimated, would therefore be ridiculous.

    The NIS has made some ridiculous decisions, like buying the wash of goverment paper they did. Building grossly overpriced low cost housing and having real estate holdings whose rent probably doesn’t even cover the carrying cost of the entity, farless offer any return, are just a few examples of financial lunacy.

    I know many will say what choice did they have but to buy sinkyuh paper ? Simple had the board had any backbone the entire board should of resigned, thereby sending a strong word to the shareholders in the fund,who incidentially is every single Bajan, that foolishness has been done. Also were the opposition any use then they would of demonstrated in every way possible that for years to come the fund would be catspraddled by this decision. The opposition at the time did however promise an audit as a matter of urgency if they were elected. Of course 8 years later that too is yet to happen!

    Like

  • “Simple had the board had any backbone the entire board should of resigned….”

    @ John A

    Surely you jest.

    Successive NIS Boards of Management would been comprised of persons affiliated to the ‘party in power’ at any particular point in time.

    So, just imagine you have a Board under a DLP administration, to which individuals such as angela cox, Carson C. Cadogan, ‘Fractured BLP,’ or Alvin and Ms Undecided of ‘Brasstacks’ fame were appointed…..
    …… or comprising of persons such as ‘Tall Boy,’ Winnie, Enuff, Lorenzo…. of BLP persuasion……
    …… under circumstances you outlined…… resigning from the NIS board?

    Especially when one considers this isn’t an issue about “backbone,” but primarily about people’s loyalty to their respective political parties and politicians who facilitated their appointments to those Boards…… being of paramount importance, which ultimately influences any decisions they make.

    I’m hoping daily that our politics do not reach the level of partisan divide that is seen in St. Kitts and Antigua…… where people, based on their political affiliation, have some difficulty interacting with each other.

    Like

  • @ Artax

    Probably right as lackies must be rewarded regardless of their ability to do the job.

    After all isn’t that how a democracy works, or in our case now a one party state?

    Personally I don’t think this government will really do a full restructuring of the fund. Don’t get me wrong they will do a patch here and there, they will play with retirement age and rate of contributions but never will they wrestle with the lion!

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ John A
    @Artax

    Is the composition of the NIB political? I think you both need to get the facts straight . As far as I know the GoB appoints only three members of the Board. The rest represent stakeholders’ interests.. We need to understand what is before we suggest reform and restructure. Please get the facts. AND the reasons why the BoD is so structured.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    In the first 40 years of the NIS they had FOUR Chairs and submitted 40 Annual Reports.
    In the last 16 years, there have been SEVEN Chairs who have submitted 1 Report.
    So tenure as Chair has gone from an avg of 10yrs to 2.3yrs, and the reporting from 100% to 6%.
    Both the Chair and the Deputy Chair are appointed by the Minister.

    Like

  • So if the board is 7 members then all the party appointed need is to sway 1 of the others to vote with them? That shouldn’t be too hard to do. Especially when you consider that if the other members represent “stakeholders” such as unions or private sector members, who as Freundel say ” only want to suck at the tits of the government ” then we know how them voting too!

    But as they say the proof is in the eating and as Northern has shown us them really ain’t doing the job worth a dam!

    @ Vincent there is no defense for the indefensible. Churchill words not mine. Lol

    Like

  • Bajans not happy with NIS
    The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) slogan is ‘More than a contribution . . . it’s your lifeline’.
    But Barbadians are fed up with the slow pace at which payments are made, the reasons offered for non-payment of benefits, the rising age at which you become eligible for a pension and successive governments’ use of the fund to finance certain projects.
    They were on The Nation Barbados’ Facebook page, reacting to a call from acting Minister of Labour, Senator Dr Shantal Munro-Knight, who urged entrepreneurs to pay NIS contributions because they could feel the adverse effects later on by failing to do so.
    Many feel let down by the fund and there was a suggestion to invest in a registered retirement savings plan.
    Here are some of the comments. Eugene Holder: Some of us have been paying NIS contributions for nearly 50 years and still will have to get a reduced pension as they are not yet 67. Qualifying for a full pension should be like Civil Servants. After ‘X’ amount of years, you get your full pension. You have contributed to yours and someone else’s over four decades. It looks like private sector persons should work until they are dropping down sick or at death’s door.
    Rainz Franklyn: Imagine doing the right thing for decades, then having said funds misappropriated with no accountability or repercussions for the persons who did so. Instead
    you’re told to work longer and harder. It’s the disrespect and audacity of it all.
    Natasha Stoute: Self-employed should be allowed to invest for themselves. Will most likely be a better return on their investment than NIS.
    Melissa Knight: What I want to know is why after people have paid their contributions for all these years and when they die their family have to wait so long (over a year) to collect the funeral grant to help bury them? A bunch of nonsense.
    Kerry-Lee Boucaud: Not if I have to pay 17 per cent of my money and then giving hell to even get back a cent.
    Neil Durant: NIS is a joke, a bad one. Almost 25 per cent of your income and the age keeps going up. Better off saving the money.
    Jenn Small: My self-employed father has been paying for years and is at pensionable age. As a result of his date of registration he is five payments short. Offered to pay a lump sum. They refused. So he might not get anything.
    Narisha Ramdin: Normally I would support this, but the Government wrote off substantial amounts it owed to the NIS from loans. The money they wrote off belonged to the people. I would tell them to take out an RRSP. The Government uses our money as a slush fund and unless I see steps taken to protect its investors then I wouldn’t advise anyone to contribute if they didn’t have to.


    Source: Nation

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @JohnA
    The NIS Board has more than 7. One challenge is the tightness of the group.
    For example, immediately prior to May 2018, the Board members included Mr. Colin Jordan and Mr. Gooding-Edghill representing Employers Confederation and Hotel/Tourism. Sen Moore, has been the BWU rep for many years.
    In the purest sense, it will be argued they were not political/GoB nominees.
    In addition to the 3 GoB nominees, the MoF has one, MoL has one and the DoF has one. It can be argued all 3 of these are/are not ‘political’?
    @WB in prior exchanges has suggested the real political boss is the MoF, not the solid organizational line to the Ministry of Social Security.
    The intent is to confuse, in that way attributing responsibility gets deflected. Each time one tries to pin responsibility on a group/person, the vibrations begin, and it ‘suggested’ some group/person is ‘interfering’ with another. And NOT ONE SOUL is called to account. So we keep spinning tot in the mud. We like it so?

    Like

  • Today’s Nation Editorial.

    Civil servants must get the job done

    Getting the job done is fast becoming a difficult if not impossible mission in the Public Service, or so it seems. The notion of implementation deficit is nothing to be proud of.
    Not that anyone is proud of it, but there is a link missing somewhere when the Government’s policies are plagued with inefficiencies in execution.
    One example is the disturbing revelation that, for example, some civil servants, mostly newly appointed, have been working for upwards of three months without receiving their monthly pay cheques. Sometimes reports refer to some in the professional class such as nurses, whose role in maintaining national health is a key contributor to national well-being.
    The examples of lack of timely implementation may be specific, but getting the job done in a timely manner seems to be something that, generally speaking, has eluded the structures of successive administrations.
    Government certainly is a continuum. The irony is that ministers are all-powerful in declaring policy, which may be of immense benefit to the people, but if the execution is deficient or non-existent, then the benefits will be lost.
    It does not matter if the problem is caused by antiquated structures or by the wrong-headed attitude of some public officers (fortunately a few) operating even in the most modern and enabling environment. The bottom line is that in such situations, however caused, the public welfare and national good are seriously compromised.
    Sometimes, especially in the “safety net social system”, some unfortunate citizens may fall through the cracks to their painful disadvantage when things do not go as intended.
    In the private sector, nonperforming workers can be quickly booted out so long as the employer honours the relevant legislation applicable to the situation. We realise that similar systems, if brought into the public sector, might cause major work-related problems and union-sourced outcries of not following the system for disciplining public sector employees.
    We anticipate that the recent appointment of Senior Ministers is designed to oversee and speed up the implementation and execution of Government policy. It seems to be organised to assist other ministers in cutting through the bureaucratic red tape.
    But this question remains: will this approach solve the problem? There has to be some realism. Getting the policy executed and done is the issue. Viewers who have watched the television series Yes, Minister will realise the movers and shakers who get the policies executed are the civil servants who can obstruct or expedite them.
    We recall two matters of importance in this regard. Our first Prime Minister, Errol Barrow, in a moment of frustration, referred to an army of occupation. Given his military background, he was obviously referring to standstill operations of armies occupying as opposed to an army involved in active service.
    The other matter is Peter Webster’s statement in an article this past week. The former senior agricultural officer declared that “our local fruit crop production could also go a long way in meeting our needs but every initiative in fruit crop farming has been frustrated by our civil servants”. He also called for sanctioning of recalcitrant public officers.
    Webster’s words should not fall to the ground. Getting the job done on food security matters.

    Like

  • Disconnecting from work
    In some professions or industries, it is the norm for employees to remain accessible and/or to work far in excess of their normal working hours or days.
    I am not referring to professions where being on call is a contractual requirement, such as in the medical or some technical fields. Nor am I speaking of employees covered by the Shops Act, who by virtue of Section 6 should only work overtime, weekends or holidays with their consent and provided they receive the statutory overtime pay.
    Rather, I am referring to employees whose contracts provide for a 40-hour work week but include a requirement (or unspoken practice) that the employee should work such other hours or days as may be necessary to meet the needs of the business and they receive no overtime pay for the excess hours.
    This practice of “over-working” is often worn as a badge of honour. I recall being in a forum where one member stated that he does not check emails on weekends. This was met with ridicule and snickers as others in the meeting bragged about checking emails at all hours and having no limit to their working lives. Perhaps we have forgotten the familiar adage “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. I wonder how many of us are inadvertently living dull lives. There is a similar quote attributed to Socrates which says, “Beware the bareness of a busy life”.
    The reality is that there is a finite number of hours and available energy that we may have in any given day. If the majority of our energy and time is spent working, then there is limited time and energy left for the other areas of our lives.
    How many can speak of neglect of their physical and mental health due to insufficient time allotted for self-care and exercise? How many marriages and family lives suffer due to the demands of our jobs? How many of our hopes and dreams do we delay pursuing because there just isn’t enough time? This is the bareness that Socrates speaks of, where all else becomes secondary to work and there is no work-life balance. But humans are not one dimensional and our mental, spiritual and social sides also require nurture.
    Greater work balance
    This week, Ontario, Canada, passed an amendment to their
    Employment Standards Act 2000, which is aimed at promoting greater worklife balance. Pursuant to the newly amended section 21.1.1 of the act, any employer who has 25 or more employees must implement a written policy that allows them to disconnect from work.
    This policy must create rules and procedures that allow an employee to disconnect from work which means “not engaging in workrelated communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or the sending or reviewing of other messages, so as to be free from the performance of work”. I believe this is a much-needed initiative in all jurisdictions as too often the lines between home life and work become blurred, especially for those who work remotely. Employees should not be pressured to be available after hours or punished for being unavailable.
    Other enviable provisions within the Ontario legislation include Section 17, which prohibits an employer from requiring “or permitting” an employee to work more than eight hours per day or 48 hours per week except where the employee consents by way of a written agreement to work for a specified number of additional hours, in which case the employee should not exceed those agreed hours.
    The act also states that an employee must not be made to work for more than 11 consecutive hours in any one day, but this does not apply to employees on call or in cases of emergencies with plant or equipment or with the distribution of public services. Barbados could benefit from the inclusion of similar provisions within our labour statutes.
    According to Kelle Rae Roberts, “there is no glory in hustling. No awakening in a full schedule. And no divinity in spreading ourselves thin”. Selah.
    Michelle M. Russell is an attorney with a passion for employment law and labour matters, as well as being a social activist. Email: mrussell.ja@gmail.com


    Source: Nation

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ David

    What’s your opinion on the former LIAT employees petition to Mottley at Parliament yesterday?

    I believe the Government of Barbados will eventually have to pay them severance payments at the expense of the Treasury, because those former employees did not contribute to the local National Insurance Scheme…… and Antiguan PM Browne passed a law which prevents debtors from suing LIAT and the Antiguan government.

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  • @Artax

    Funny you should ask, one suspects that Barbados as the largest shareholder will have to try to mop up some of the mess although it is not all of our making.

    Successive regional governments allowed the LIAT fiasco to fester. The blogmaster had an interesting conversation with the late Jean Holder, even he lamented the incompetence of regional governments and stayed on against his better judgement because he was afraid to withdraw his fingers from the many holes in the LIAT dyke.

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  • @ David

    Successive regional governments also allowed successive Antigua & Barbuda governments to ‘get away’ with opposing any recommendation that would’ve created a more viable LIAT…… simply because Antiguans believe the airline belonged to them.

    Recall, one of Gaston Browne’s election promises was to gain majority shares in LIAT. And, I’m sure you’re aware of the cunning manner in which he went about achieving that objective.

    Selfishness essentially contributed to the downfall of LIAT.

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  • @Artax

    Be that as a may Barbados as the major shareholder combined with LIAT’s dysfunctional design explains where we find ourselves.

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  • @ Artax
    “Selfishness essentially contributed to the downfall of LIAT.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    But selfishness is endemic in business…

    So the REAL problem HAD to be the shiitehounds who were given the assignment to MANAGE the damn place… at BOTH the POLICY and at the management levels.
    Note that these were Bajan Brass for the most part….

    soooo…
    For 10 marks, discuss your expectations of the economic outcome for Brassbados by yearend.

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